How to set up Hootsuite as your Mac Twitter desktop app

How to set up Hootsuite as your Mac Twitter desktop app

OVER the past 2 years or so, I think I’ve tested and used just about every possible desktop application you can get your hands on for free for Macs.

From the aesthetically pleasing Official Twitter App, to the power user’s best friends in Seesmic Desktop and Tweetdeck, I’ve given them all a decent run and none have really provided me with ALL the specs and features I desire:

  • Multiple accounts
  • Multiple social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare etc)
  • Scheduled Tweets
  • Built in link shortening
  • Customisable interface (easily change column orders)
  • Tabbed layout to maximise usable columns
  • Analytics & link stats tracking
  • Ability to view user info in a neat way
  • Message Drafts
  • Visual and audible update notifications

It’s a fairly large shopping list, but one that is easily covered by what I now believe to be the “best app on the block” – Hootsuite.

Why Hootsuite as opposed to the various alternatives?

I’ll give you a couple of examples of why I’m sold on using Hootsuite as my primary Twitter application, but first make sure you check out a great blog post titled, “10 Reasons I’m Switching from Tweetdeck to Hootsuite” from the guys over at “Web App Storm”.

Appstorm's '10 Reasons I'm switching from Tweetdeck to Hootsuite'.

For me, two of the best features of the Hootsuite service are the ability to track statistical information regarding your Tweets and the specific links that you post within (using Hootsuite’s default URL shortening service options), and also the user profile information panels that appear (shown below) each time you click on a user name.

An example of Hootsuite's statistical reporting features.

An example of Hootsuite's user profile information panel.

Setting up Hootsuite as a Mac Twitter desktop application

You’re probably wondering how you can make a web-based service into a desktop application without some kind of installer or application environment like Adobe AIR (used by applications like Tweetdeck)? Well it’s actually quite simple using a neat, free program for the Mac called “Fluid”. The following is a quick step-by-step look at how you can be up and running with Hootsuite as your primary Mac desktop accessed by a neat customised dock icon, in no time.

Step 1 – Find a suitable dock icon for your application

It’s hard to go past a more suitable icon than that adorable little Hootsuite Owl we see all around the place these days.

Find a suitable dock icon on something like ''.

Finding suitable dock icons for all the applications I have set up in the past using Fluid has been a cinch when using “Deviantart” as my search engine. Simply navigate to the “Dock Icons” category section of the site and search for the web application in question – in this case “Hootsuite”. The icon I found for this project you can download from here.

Unzip the icon resource file and place it somewhere where Fluid will be able to find it every time you open your new “Hootsuite” application.

Step 2 – Download and install Fluid for Mac

As long as you are running OSX 10.5 or greater, jump over to and download the free Fluid installer.

Download 'Fluid' for Mac.

Note: A similar program called Mozilla Prism is available for those of you on a Windows PC or Linux that will help you achieve a similar result.

Install the application on your Mac and crank it up.

Step 3 – Create your application

Once Fluid starts up, you’ll be presented with a window prompting you to “Create a Site Specific Browser”. Simply fill out the requested details as shown below. When it comes to the “Icon” field, select “Other…” (as shown) and navigate to wherever you ended up placing your Hootsuite Owl icon.

Fill out the requested details in 'Fluid' for Mac.

Once you have your icon selected, hit the create button to create your new Hootsuite desktop application.

Fill out the requested details in 'Fluid' for Mac.

Step 4 – Add the new Hootsuite application to the dock

You will now be presented with a success message and a few options for progressing. We want to add the new application to the dock, so select the “Reveal in Finder” option.

Success in setting up your Hootsuite desktop app.

Find the Hootsuite application you just created by looking for the distinctive Owl icon, and drag the icon to your dock. Drop it in the appropriate spot on your dock and click the icon to open Hootsuite!

Drag the distinctive Hootsuite icon to your dock.

If you are asked to log in to your Hootsuite account the first time you start up the application, and when you do you get kicked out to your default browser (Firefox etc):

  1. Close the Hootsuite application
  2. Open Safari
  3. Log into Hootsuite selecting the “Remember Me” option
  4. Close Safari
  5. Open your Hootsuite application from your dock once again.

This time you should be taken directly into your Hootsuite account screen.

From there it’s just a matter of setting up your accounts and columns the way you want them and exploring the Hootsuite service to find all the amazing features and options that you have for managing your Twitter account(s).

Good luck!

QUESTIONS: If you have any questions regarding setting up Hootsuite as your Mac Twitter desktop app, throw them down in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.


  1. Adrian says:

    I’ve done exactly this and I really like that Hootsuite’s magnum theme matches perfectly with fluid’s HUD window style.

  2. Joshua Holland says:

    Working fine but just started getting some duplicate Tweets. I only see this in the Fluid App, not when using the HootSuite web site. Ever seen that?

  3. Stellar work here Masey — thanks for spreading the knowledge.

  4. Phil Montero says:

    Thanks for this. Tried it but the problem I am having is that whenever I click the SSB icon on my dock it asks me to login – but when I do it just opens a new tab on my default browser (which is currently Chrome). Tried what you suggested and logged in on Chrome first then launched it but still doing the same.

    I just switched from Windows to Mac and assumed Chrome would let me create SSB apps like it does on windows but that is not the case.

    Any ideas on why this might not be working? Wondering if Safari was my default browser if that would make a difference. Don’t really want to do that though. Any help or insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated – thanks!


    • MΛSΞY says:

      Hey Phil. Thanks for your comment.

      Not sure what to tell you about the Chrome issue. All I can tell you is that I was having exactly the same issue until I made Safari my default browser (which I was happy to do) and logged into Hootsuite on there first, effectively setting a cookie that had me all sorted in the end.

  5. Pam says:

    I had the same problem as Phil. I logged in to Hootsuite using Chrome but the the Fluid icon just kept asking me to log in and opened Firefox. Once I logged in using Safari all was well and Fluid app working.

  6. Thanks for this. Love the dynamic feel to your site by the way.

    After reading the “10 reasons” article you mentioned, I’m ready for the switch, but I love using chrome and fear investing the time and then getting stuck here just as Pam and Phil.

    Chrome’s fast and “cleaner” than firefox for me. What is the big reason you’ve stuck with Safari?



    • MΛSΞY says:

      Hey Brad. Thanks for stopping by. I’m happy to see you found something of interest.

      As a web designer by trade, I find myself using pretty much all of the popular browsers daily (with the notable exception being that rubbish they call Internet Explorer – you couldn’t pay me enough to subject myself to that), so I can’t really tell you why Safari would or would not be better for your use. As long as you don’t weight it down with too many unnecessary addons, I find Safari to be every bit as slick as Chrome in the performance department.

      In short, I don’t think anyone can tell you what browser is right for you… You just have to test them all for yourself and just see which one works out for you.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks for taking the time to write back.

        Been using Hootsuite on chrome now for a few days, AND I LOVE IT! Thanks for relaying your impressions, and for sharing the “how to” desktop it, which I’ve yet to do… kind of like having it all in the browser.

        Cheers, Brad

  7. Chris Nelson says:

    Thanks a ton for this. I’m new to Mac, and everything worked exactly as described.

    Appreciate you taking time to share the knowledge, Masey!

  8. Will Lockie says:

    Really appreciate this – perfect solution, thank you for posting Masey!

  9. Lala says:

    Thank you very much!! Really appreciate your post. Perfect solution ^_^

  10. Yabulka says:

    Thanks a lot. 🙂 I’m new mac user and this solution opens rooms for many nice web-apps. 🙂

    Thanks a Lot!

  11. shhickman says:

    Thanks for this tut. Great way to access the hoot.

  12. Cindy Becker says:

    Can Hootsuite be run using Firefox?

  13. M @StyleSizzle says:

    I have to say, I absolutely HATE the Fluid/Hootsuite “solution” for mac. I have never experienced the kinds of problems I do with this App with any other app on my computer, including Tweetdeck. It freezes, crashes my computer, won’t load, gets stuck, etc. etc.

    I really wish Hootsuite would come out with a better solution because this one just drags down the computer to the point where it becomes completely unusable.

  14. Yogich says:

    This works flawlessly, on my Mac Mini… although it did seem to screw up the [posting] Facebook connection on Hootsuite for Android –a minor nuisance, really, since I already have FB set up for text.

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